Two World Premieres and many, many raves

May 2, 2013

April has been busy and gratifying for AOP and we are just about a third of the way through our 25th year (stay tuned for announcements about anniversary events). Just as we finished up workshops for our upcoming July premiere of The Blind at Lincoln Center Festival, two AOP-developed works received their world premieres at regional opera companies. Even better, they are resounding successes. AOP develops new work and partners with companies across the country because of leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and many generous individuals.

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Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theater co-produced Judgment of Midas on April 12 & 13. The extravagant, Turkish influenced music by composer Kamran Ince supplies “an orgiastic climax as crazed and hair-raising as anything I’ve heard in all of opera” (ThirdCoastDaily.com). It is a large scale comedy with six principles and a small chorus.

UrbanArias began two week premiere run of a chamber opera, Paul’s Case, at Artisphere in Arlington, VA (Washington, DC) on April 20. Based on a story by Willa Cather, Paul’s Case is

“…an arresting little piece that communicates its haunting story with clarity and a sense of inevitability.” (The Washington Post)

“Composer Gregory Spears combines minimalism, baroque gestures, and extended vocal techniques into a distinctive and pungent musical language . . . the overall pacing is taut, the nine-piece orchestration vivid and the denouement appropriately wrenching.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“The words ‘world premiere’ don’t always translate to ‘Must-See,’ but in the case of Paul’s Case… they’re synonymous.” (DC Metro Theater Arts)

“…the piece is nearly ready to claim a place in the chamber opera repertoire – thanks to a long-haul development process for which American Opera Projects deserves much credit.” (Arts Journal)

READ THE FULL REVIEWS FOR PAUL’S CASE

Visit AOP First Chance to follow the next round of operas on their way to premiere productions!


Flashmob, Opera-Style: “Paul’s Case” around New York City

June 29, 2010
Paul's Case at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Thomas Wazelle (center, in bowler hat) and Dorian Balis (left, in vest) perform a scene from "Paul's Case" in Brooklyn Bridge Park

On June 21st, the first day of summer, AOP took part in Sing For Hope’s 2010 Make Music New York Festival, which placed upwards of 60 pianos in various locations around NYC. Making good use of pianos in the Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, the Band Shell in Central Park, and Columbus Circle, AOP took the stage with a scene from Act II of Paul’s Case, by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Kathryn Walat. As bystanders looked on, Thomas Wazelle and Dorian Balis, accompanied by Scott Rednour and lead by Silas Huff, performed opera in period dress.

Here’s a brief account of the Columbus Circle piano by the New York Post. Check out the 3:34pm entry for AOP’s contribution to the day of music!

While the performers showcased Paul’s Case, AOP was busy with both still and video cameras, recording the entire process. Expect a compilation video soon! In the meantime, go here to learn more about Paul’s Case, or check out this blog post to learn about where else this up-and-coming new opera is being performed!


“Enlightening” Performance of Paul’s Case in Los Angeles

June 29, 2010
Paul's Case in L.A.

The Opera America cast of Paul's Case, performing in L.A. on June 11th

AOP is pleased to announce the great success of the recent production of Paul’s Case, by composer Gregory Spears and Librettist Kathryn Walat, with Opera America’s New Works Sampler 2010! On Friday, June 11th, excerpts from Paul’s Case, featuring Hak Soo Kim in the title role, were performed alongside numerous other new operas at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Robert E. Lee, President and Managing Director of AOP, traveled to California to be in the audience. “It was enlightening and encouraging to hear how well the piece came across with a new cast we’d never worked with before,” he said in an interview. “This fascinating new take on the opera was played in a more lyrical style. I’d been used to hearing its more angular, rhythmical elements, and so to hear such different facets of the piece was a pleasant surprise, and quite enjoyable. ”

“It was great to have received so many unsolicited comments of praise about the piece,” Lee continued, commenting on the public reception of the showcase.  “This is a very discerning crowd full of experienced professionals. So, it was especially heartening to hear that people liked the performance.”


“Paul’s Case” goes to Los Angeles

April 29, 2010

American Opera Projects is extremely proud to announce that excerpts from Paul’s Case have been selected to appear in OPERA America’s New Works Sampler 2010!!

OPERA America conference bannerAOP is thrilled to have been chosen once again for this honor; Opera companies nationwide submit their pieces to the conference, and Paul’s Case joins an already impressive lineup of performances.  OPERA America is working with the Los Angeles Opera and their Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program to produce a compilation concert of new operatic works, dubbed the New Works Sampler. This exciting production will take place as part of OPERA America’s Opera Conference 2010: New Realities/New Strategies on June 11,2010.  Gregory Spears, composer of Paul’s Case, will also be making the journey to LA to represent his composition on the West Coast.

Stay tuned for a cast list as singers are auditioned!


Paul’s Case selected as “Best in Classical Music for 2009”

December 17, 2009

Paul's CaseDavid Patrick Stearns at the Philadelphia Inquirer selected the first full workshop of the opera Paul’s Case for his classical music ten best list for 2009.  Stearns praised its “solid dramatic timing, compassionate characterizations, and huge potential.” The opera by Gregory Spears based on a story by Willa Cather was presented in September as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival by Center City Opera. The work is currently in development at American Opera Projects, having originated during the 2007-08 season of Composers & the Voice.

Read the full article…


Paul’s Case composer wins Jerome Composers Commissioning Program grant

November 6, 2009

Gregory Spears

Gregory Spears

Paul’s Case composer and C&V alum Gregory Spears has been awarded funds by the Jerome Composers Commissioning Program to write a piece for The JACK Quartet in New York City. According to the American Composers Forum website, “This program, funded by the Jerome Foundation, supports the creation of new musical works by emerging composers, composer/performers, improvisers and sound artists. JCCP supports the creator’s commissioning fee.”

View a full list of 2009 JCCP winners


MusicWeb raves over “mesmerizing new chamber opera, Paul’s Case”

October 2, 2009

The first piano-vocal workshop of Greg Spears‘s opera-in-development Paul’s Case made a great impression on Jeffrey Edelstein over at Music Web International who asserted it to be “a beautiful, heartrending work.”

Pauls Case in Philadelphia, Sep 2009

Paul's Case in Philadelphia, Sep 2009

The opera currently being developed by AOP and based on a short story by Willa Cather, was presented by Center City Opera Theater (conNEXTions 2009: The Next Generation of Opera in conjunction with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival) at the St. Stephen’s Theater in Philadelphia on Sep 11, 13, and 15.

Read full review…


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